Tanker Helmets - From The Battlefields Of WW2 To Collectors’ Showcases

Posted by The Green Tanners on 18th Jul 2023

Tanker Helmets - From The Battlefields Of WW2 To Collectors’ Showcases

The echoes of war resonate through time, leaving behind tales of courage, sacrifice, and iconic artifacts that embody the spirit of heroes. Among these treasures stands the legendary WW2 Tanker Helmet—a symbol of resilience and the indomitable spirit that prevailed in the face of adversity.

As the fires of World War II consumed the globe, armored warfare demanded protection for the valiant soldiers who manned the mighty tanks. Born out of necessity, the M1938 Tanker Helmet was designed to provide protection, comfort, and convenience amidst chaos.

Decades have passed, yet the legacy of Tanker Helmets shines on. Today, these cherished relics find new life in the hands of collectors, preserving the untold stories and forging a tangible connection to the brave warriors of yesteryear.

You may recognize the Tanker Helmet from its appearance in the movie "Fury," where it was worn by the crew, including Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf. The film aimed for high realism, and the helmet played a significant role in portraying authentic tank crew experiences during the final days of WWII.

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We are one of those collectors who honor the heroism of WW2 veterans by reviving the US Tanker Helmet's legacy through a meticulously crafted replica. Our M1938 tanker helmet is the most realistically designed replica on the market. It’s a testament to history—a bridge between the past and present, a timeless reminder of sacrifice and courage. 

In this article, we delve into the captivating history of the WW2 US tanker helmet. We also proudly present our meticulously crafted replica, designed to pay homage to the heroes who shaped our world.

Unveiling the Timeless Legacy Of US M1938 Tanker Helmet

The origins of the WW2 US tanker helmet can be traced back to the tumultuous era of armored warfare. During the mid-1930s, two basic tanker helmet designs emerged—one developed by the Infantry and the other by the Cavalry. The primary purpose of both helmets was to offer protection from frequent bumps.

However, as tanks evolved to become faster, more agile, and compact, it became evident that neither design offered optimal protection. In 1938, the Ordnance Board recognized the need for a standardized and improved tank helmet. They selected the Cavalry helmet as the foundation and collaborated with the Rawlings Manufacturing Company - renowned for their football helmets - to enhance the design. 

A team of three designers at Rawlings spearheaded the creation of the tank helmet, filing a patent on 1 May 1941 under the simple name "Tank Helmet." Later, it was named as the "M-1938" tank helmet based on the year the project started.

The primary design objectives of the Tank Helmet, as stated in the patent application, were to provide:

  • A protective, light-weight helmet that’s comfortable, snug-fitting, and well ventilated. 
  • That supports quick removal and installation without the need for manipulating or adjusting a chin strap. 
  • That offers novel construction securely holding earphones in the proper position ensuring a comfortable relationship with the user's ears

The Distinctive Silhouette of M1938 Tanker Helmet

True to expectations, the new Rawlings helmet bore a resemblance to a football helmet in both design and construction. Its outer crown and rear neck guard shells were crafted from a robust fiber resin, akin to the earlier tank helmets. 

Inside the helmet, a suspension system was implemented, comprising felt pads, leather pad retainers, and waxed cotton cords. This ingenious suspension mechanism not only ensured a secure fit on the wearer's head but also absorbed a significant portion of the impact when encountering bumps or jolts.

The standout feature that set the M-1938 tanker helmet apart from its predecessors was the introduction of a leather ear flap assembly. The ear flap extended below the wearer's ear, featuring a cleverly designed flexible housing that securely held the earphones in their proper position. A slot within the leather flap accommodated the earphones, and a thin leather fastening piece snapped over them, ensuring their secure placement. This innovative addition to the helmet design offered enhanced functionality and convenience for the tank crew.

The M-1938 tank helmet boasted a remarkably lightweight and comfortable design, weighing less than 2 pounds even when fully equipped with communication gear and goggles. This emphasis on weight reduction ensured ease of wear for tank crew members during long hours of operation. 

Additionally, the fiber crown of the helmet featured ten ¾-inch holes, strategically positioned to provide optimal ventilation in various operating conditions. This thoughtful ventilation design further enhanced the wearer's comfort and allowed for better airflow within the helmet.

Introduced to the Armored Corps in 1941, the M-1938 tank helmets became an integral part of tank onboard equipment, though the patent was officially accepted on 12 May 1942. 

As per the War Department Technical Manual (TM 9-731A) of 1942, tanklers in M4 and M4A1 Sherman were equipped with 5 helmets in sizes 7, 7 1/2, 7 1/4, 7 1/8, and 7 3/8. As for the M5 Stuart Light Tank, the specific size allocations were not mentioned in the 1943 Technical Manual TM 9-732, but it did state that four tank helmets were provided for the crew members. Its issuance continued until the late 1950s.

The M1938 Tanker Helmet by The Green Tanners - Preserving History For Military Enthusiasts

For all the military enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a connection to the battleground, we proudly present the US M1938 Tanker Helmet. 

Our replica stands as a tribute to the heroes of that era. Meticulously crafted with attention to detail, it encapsulates the essence of the original WW2 US tanker helmet. From the durable fiber resin outer shell to the adjustable leather ear flap assembly, our replica faithfully embodies the significant characteristics that made the helmet a symbol of resilience on the battlefield.

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This WW2 Tanker brings you as close as possible to the wartime scenario, offering a reimagined design that adds comfort while staying true to the original.

Not only can this tanker helmet be used as a prop in reenactments, but it also serves as a tribute to war veterans in your family. It can also be proudly displayed as a showpiece, honoring their service and sacrifice. 

Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this unique WW2 replica helmet features a hard outer fiberglass shell, a genuine soft supple leather four-point liner, and hand-sewn ear and neck flaps made from 100% top grain cowhide leather. 

The interior boasts a suspension system with felt pads, leather pad retainers, and waxed cotton cords, guaranteeing comfort and protection. The open-mouth design allows for quick and easy wearing and removal. This collectible replica provides a comfortable, snug fit, excellent ventilation, and a lightweight feel.

By owning our replica, you not only acquire a piece of history but also honor the valor and sacrifice of those who fought for freedom.